HELP your binmen cope during the coronavirus crisis by reducing the amount of rubbish and recycling you put out, says the county councillor who oversees waste collections.

Mike Goodman has appealed for residents to help the refuse service carry on operating – at a time when the amount of waste collected in Surrey is increasing.

“As key workers, bin collection staff provide an essential public service and are continuing to work hard to maintain collections during this difficult time,” said Cllr Goodman, who is chairman of the Surrey Environment Partnership.

“Residents can help the service by taking a few simple actions, as well as reducing waste as much as possible and not buying too much food.”

He said householders should make sure bin lids are able to firmly close, to prevent crews unnecessarily touching them. They should compact recycling in the bin and put bins out only when they are full.

“Waste tonnages have already started to increase and, while most services are currently operating as normal, they could be reduced if staff sickness increases because of the virus,” added Cllr Goodman.

“Also, as the county’s community recycling centres have been closed due to the pandemic, we are asking residents to hold on to any waste they were planning to take to a centre until they reopen.”

Advice on how residents can help keep bin collections going is is being regularly updated on the Surrey Environment Partnership website,

The site also features public health guidance for people who are self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus. It explains that personal waste such as tissues and cleaning cloths should be placed in a rubbish bag and then put in another bag. This should be tied securely and kept inside for 72 hours before being put in the home’s refuse bin.

Households are being asked to put out their bins earlier than usual, as reduced traffic on the roads means crews might be collecting ahead of their usual time.

Residents should wash their hands before and after putting out their bins.

“Bin crews are working hard to keep this essential service going during this difficult time and their moral would be boosted if residents let them know they are appreciated with a wave or a smile,” said Cllr Goodman.

The Surrey Environment Partnership website also features recipes for using leftover food – urging people to eat leftovers rather than throw them out. Food that cannot be used straight away should be frozen before the use-by date, it says.

With recycling centres closed, there is a warning that disposing of waste through fly-tipping is against the law. Those convicted of fly-tipping face fines of up to £50,000 or up to five years in prison.